Home > HIV risk behaviour in Irish intravenous drug users.

Dorman, Arthur and Keenan, Eamon and Schuttler, C and Merry, John and O'Connor, John J (1997) HIV risk behaviour in Irish intravenous drug users. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 166, (4), pp. 235-238.

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In Europe, injecting drug users make up the largest group of registered cases of AIDS. Although HIV infection is usually spread through sexual relations, in the case of intravenous drug users syringe sharing is the primary cause of transmission. This study aims to measure HIV prevalence and risk behaviour in 185 Irish intravenous drug users. The sample consisted of 185 intravenous drug users, defined as having injected drugs at least once in the previous two months. The sample consisted of both in-treatment and out of treatment groups.

Interviews were conducted by a trained interviewer using a standardised WHO questionnaire. The interview lasted approximately 90 minutes, and the questions related to behaviour in the proceeding 6 months. Over half of the respondents reported sharing injecting equipment in the previous 6 months, and 114 reported lending injecting equipment. 114 of the males and 28 of the females reported heterosexual activity in the previous 6 months. 50.5 per cent of the males and 63 per cent of the females never used condoms with regular partners. The majority of partners of male injecting drug users were non-injectors, conversely the vast majority of partners of female intravenous drug users were injectors. The results of this study show high levels of sharing and lending of injecting equipment. Heterosexual behaviour is high, as is the lack of condom use. The level of HIV prevalence and the level of risk behaviour show the potential for the continuing spread of HIV.

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